Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi tweeted just days ago that his country was “fully liberated” from “ISIS terrorist gangs” and that Daesh (ISIS) has been completely eliminated from all formerly occupied parts of Iraq.
Two days later, Putin, on his first visit to Syria, has ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian military from the battle-weary nation, stating:
“In two years, the Russian armed forces, together with the Syrian army, have defeated the most lethal group of international terrorists,” as quoted by news agency Tass.
Russia will continue to operate two military bases in Syria: Hmeimim and Tartus.
The move comes just weeks after the Russian premier met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Sochi in Russia.
In Monday remarks broadcast by the state-owned Russia 24 news channel, Putin said: “If terrorists will raise their heads ever again, we will strike them with such force that they have never seen before.”
In 2014, ISIS took control of large tracts of Iraq and Syria. Their territory soon spanned over 30,000 square miles straddling the border.
Today it has lost nearly all of its control centers, including its de facto capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Al Raqqa in Syria. The eradication took more than 25,000 coalition airstrikes to the region and three long years.
+++ + +++